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Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) is a provincial program that provides income assistance and health-related coverage to Ontarians with disabilities. It also offers employment assistance to help disabled individuals procure and maintain jobs to meet their own financial needs in the future.
This article will cover the entire ODSP benefit, including how to determine eligibility, how to apply, and how much you can obtain through ODSP payments.
ODSP payments are made on the last business day of each month, but December's payments are usually sent out pre-Christmas. The table below details the ODSP payment dates for this year.
|January 31||February 28||March 31||April 29|
|May 31||June 30||July 29||August 31|
|September 29||October 31||November 30||December TBD|
ODSP refers to a social support program operated under the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS). It’s intended to meet the unique income, health, and employment challenges disabled Ontarians tend to face.
This financial assistance helps those with eligible disabilities live their lives as independently as possible. During 2018-2019, more than 510,000 individuals received ODSP benefits. If you're receiving ODSP payments, that is considered income and can help qualify for ODSP loans.
Here’s a quick overview of the ODSP eligibility requirements.
Minors can apply up to 6 months in advance from their 18th birthday.
Proving Financial Need - You are considered to be in need of financial assistance if your basic living expenses exceed your household’s income and assets.
When applying for ODSP income support, your caseworker will inquire for the following information to determine your total assets and income:
Your caseworker is the one that will validate your need for financial assistance. They will ask for your consent to contact third parties to gather more information about your situation to determine your eligibility for this benefit.
Note that Ontario Works (OW) clients already have their need for financial assistance established. If you’re an OW benefit recipient, consult with your caseworker to apply to OSPD.
Proving disability - ODSP Act’s definition of a person with a disability is as follows:
The caseworker will give you and your healthcare provider(s) a Disability Determination Package. Once it’s filled out and submitted, the MCCSS staff will review the application to determine whether you meet the program’s definition of a person with a disability.
You can apply for ODSP benefits by calling or visiting your local ODSP office.
You can also start your application online but know that you’ll have to visit your local office still to complete the application. A caseworker will reach out to schedule an in-person meeting within five days.
You will be required to bring in documents to help the caseworker verify the following information:
Bring documents such as birth certificate, immigration papers, passport, Canadian citizenship card, or permanent resident card.
Cumulative household income:
Tax return and pay stubs for all family members in your household at least 18 years or older. Also, include statements from pension programs such as CPP, WSIB Benefits, employment income, profits from a business, spousal support, sponsorship payment, OAS benefits, loans, and more.
Exempted income sources include Canada Child Benefit, Ontario Child Benefit, RDSP payments, OSAP loans for education, and child support.
Cumulative household assets:
Assets may consist of you and your family member’s cash in bank accounts, stocks and bonds, RRSP payments, jewellers, trust funds, and vehicles (excluding primary vehicles).
The house you own or live in, your primary vehicle, pre-paid funerals, RESP payments, RDSP payments, personal items like furniture and clothes, and trust funds from an inheritance or life insurance policy will not count towards household assets.
These include rent, utility, heating bills, mortgage agreement, property tax statements, and home insurance statements.
Meeting with your caseworker
During the meeting with your caseworker, you will be required to sign the following forms:
You may be required to sign additional information depending on your circumstances.
The last two forms mentioned on the list above authorize decision-makers to collect information about you from other programs and government agencies to determine your eligibility to receive ODSP benefits.
You’ll know whether or not you’re financially eligible for ODSP income support within 15 days of your meeting with the caseworker.
If you’re not found to be financially eligible, you can request an internal review within 30 days of receiving the decision.
If they find you financially eligible, you will receive a Disability Determination Package. This package has two parts:
Medical professionals authorized to complete both parts of the Disability Determination Package include physicians, registered nurses, psychologists, optometrists, and ophthalmologists.
Medical professionals who are only authorized to complete the Activities of Daily Life Index are audiologists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and social workers.
Once all the Disability Determination Package forms are complete, send them to the ODSP Disability Adjudication Unit.
There, specialized staff called Adjudicators will review the contents of the package and determine whether or not you meet the program’s definition of a person with a disability.
This process can take time if your application is complex. Only 25 percent of the applications get reviewed within ten days. The rest take up to 90 business days.
Those eligible for ODSP can receive income support and employment support.
If you rent or own your home, you will receive a monthly payment that covers:
The amount you receive will differ based on the number of family members and their ages and whether your spouse or partner also is disabled.
A table shows ODSP income support rates for basic needs-related expenses:
|Number of dependants other than a spouse||Dependants 18 years or older||Dependants 0-17 years||Recipient (1)||Recipient and Spouse (2)||Recipient and Spouse (3)|
Note 1. A recipient if there is no spouse included in the benefit unit.
Note 2. A recipient with a spouse included in the benefit unit if Note 3 does not apply.
Note 3. A recipient with a spouse included in the benefit unit if each of the recipient and the spouse is a person with a disability.
Each additional dependent receives $211 if they’re 18 years of age or older and $0 if 17 years of age or younger.
Remote Communities Allowance
|Dependants other than spouse||Recipient||Recipient and Spouse|
Each additional dependent will get $102.
This portion of your monthly ODSP benefit will cover utilities, heat, water, sewage, rent/mortgage, property taxes, garbage disposal, laundry facilities and more.
How much shelter allowance you are entitled to receive depending on your family size:
|Benefit Unit Size||Maximum Monthly Shelter Allowance|
|6 or more||1026|
You may also receive an amount for a second residence if you or your spouse is temporarily required to participate in a training program to improve your employment prospects. You can receive up to $455 for this temporary accommodation.
If you’re eligible to receive ODSP’s income support, you may also qualify for its myriad of health benefits such as
MCCSS understands that those with disabilities would like to work and reach their financial goals. This is why they provide an array of work-related benefits to aid disabled individuals and their eligible family members to earn money from a job, join a training program, or even start a business.
You can obtain support for the following:
If you want to start your own business, you can get help with:
Eligible family members include your spouse or children who are 18 years of age or older and are not a full-time student.
You and eligible family members may receive $500 in 12 months to cover work-related costs such as clothing, uniforms, licensing fees, work boots, tools and special equipment, and transportation.
You do not have to meet the financial eligibility requirement to obtain employment support. To procure work-related assistance, download and fill out “Application for Employment Supports.”
Then, an approved healthcare professional will need to complete a Verification of Disability/Impairment. This isn’t necessary if you’re already receiving Income Support payments.
You will then have to give your consent to release medical information. This is important so that the MSSCC office can gather your medical information from your healthcare providers and verify your disability.
Yes, you can work and still be eligible to receive ODSP. MCCSS encourages its ODSP recipients to work to make the most of the financial help they’re receiving through the benefit payment.
Those who work while on ODSP are much better off financially than those who live on the benefits alone.
Adult in your family can earn up to $200 each month while still receiving the same ODSP payment. For every dollar you make above $200, your benefit will only reduce by 50 cents.
You can preserve more of your benefit if you’re a working parent that needs to pay for child care or if you need specialized equipment due to your disability to do your job.
If you’re currently a full-time student that’s working part-time, then your income, regardless of the amount, won’t affect the ODSP benefit amount at all.
MCSS provides payments via Cheque, direct deposits and reloadable payment cards. Direct deposit is the safest and easiest way to receive your ODSP payment directly into your bank account.
Reloadable cards are a perfect alternative to those who do not have a bank account. This way, you do not have to worry about travelling to the bank to cash or deposit your cheque.